In the world but not of it

September 29, 2009

Compassion and correction…

Filed under: Uncategorized — In the world but not of it @ 5:00 am

They were trying to trap him
into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and
wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood
up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the
first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. John 8:6-8

 

Finger pointing. Blame game.
Fault finding. Whatever we call it, I find that making ourselves exempt from
responsibility seems to come quite naturally. If they gave out degrees for some
of the games we play in our daily lives and how we interact with others then
I’m certain by now that many of us would have a PhD or an MBA in some of these
distinct categories.

 

In this passage Jesus made it
clear that we are all sinners and we are not in a position to condemn others
without having first dealt with our own issues. Through His actions, He also
brought out some very important life principles that we must not miss.

 

First, I realized that the
Jewish leaders in this story completely neglected the law they so vehemently
tried to uphold. In Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22 it states that the
punishment for adultery was to be passed onto the women and the man. Here in
John 8 they ignored that and arrested only the women thus violating their own
law. There is no mention of the man anywhere.

 

As believers we are called to
a higher standard because of whom we serve and often in our lives we are called
to address someone on a sensitive or difficult matter. The danger is that I can
be like these Jewish leaders in this story, concerned more about ridding
ourselves of the problem rather than ensuring that the truth the One I
represent is upheld and represented fully.

 

We can justify dealing
swiftly with a person in our midst but the simple truth is that regardless of
the actions I take, my life is still to be a witness of the Light and I need to
represent Him in all things.

 

Second, notice how Jesus in
saying “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first
stone!”
, was not denying the
legal punishment but rather chose the path of compassion and forgiveness.

 

Notice how Jesus led them to an answer as opposed to Lording the obvious
over them. Jesus leaned more towards compassion than correction.

 

Third, did you ever wonder what Jesus was writing on the ground? Was He
writing out the most recent sins they committed? It appears that was what He
might have done since they clearly decided to vacate the situation rather
quickly as the passage says “those who heard it, being convicted by their
conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the
last.”

 

At that moment they were presented with an opportunity to change and
acknowledge something that was an obstacle in their lives. We don’t know
exactly what Jesus wrote but from the reaction it stirred up we can conclude it
forced a decision.

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